Any day that I ski is a perfect ski day. If the sun is out, I ski faster. If the light is flat, I ski slower. Skiing is fun no matter if you’re on big hills or little hills. - Klaus Obermeyer
Klaus Obermeyer's first taste of skiing came 99 years ago on thin pieces of chestnut wood. The wood was from an old crate used to carry oranges. He nailed a pair of his buckle shoes to them with a couple of inches of nail sticking through the bottom, and tied one end of a string around the tips, and the other around his knees to create ski tips.
Being only 3 years old at the time, his first attempt didn't go very well. It wasn’t until he was about 5 that he got his first real pair of skis, made by Stein Eriksen’s father (Marius) in Oslo, Norway. To this day, the ski industry pioneer insists it was the best Christmas gift ever.
The Most Interesting Man in Town
Obermeyer has become an icon in the ski industry and his infectious smile, wisdom and hallmark yodeling has earned him legions of admirers in Aspen and everywhere he travels. Taking selfies, shaking hands, kissing babies, and laughing a lot have become part of daily life for Obermeyer. His spirit is contagious and the ski world is lucky to have an innovator like him and the world in general is lucky to have such an inspiration.
A recent Aspen Times profile states, "an aeronautical engineer by education, Klaus came to the U.S. when he was 27 years old. He hitchhiked to Sun Valley where he met ski filmmaker, Warren Miller before settling into Aspen where he became a ski instructor.
“In order to guarantee you’d have clients the next day, you’d have to keep them happy and warm today,” recalls Obermeyer, who actually fashioned a parka out of a down comforter his mother gave him when she heard he was moving to “North” America. “My mother thought, ‘it must be cold in North America’ with the emphasis on the word north,” Obermeyer said.
His engineering background allowed him to work with companies that had never made certain items before. Many people think that Obermeyer only manufactured ski clothing, but his innovations go beyond that. He was instrumental in developing high alpine sunscreen, two pronged ski brakes, zip turtlenecks, nylon wind-shirts, mirrored sunglasses and lighter-weight ski poles.